Like the Red Sky at Morning: coming October 27, 2015!
I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news. Which do you want to hear first?
Here’s a scene from a book I started back in 2008 or ’09. It was a YA about Christian, a black girl with a screwed up past and Abel, a white guy who doesn’t have much hope for the future. They meet, fall in love, and, well…you know. A novel happens.
I only got halfway through about three different versions of it before I put the manuscript down and never picked it up again. I still like going back and skimming through it, though. Below is one of my favorite scenes.
As I’m sure just about every writer does, I have a TON of random, under-developed, unfinished pieces of writing stored on my computer (& in my phone, in my iPad, in countless flash drives…), so in the spirit of #ThrowbackThursday, here’s an an excerpt from an old, forgotten idea.
Shame woke her.
The heat of it rolled through her, an explosion that started in the pit of her stomach and ricocheted off of her organs. In the dark haze between sleep and consciousness, she’d seen Van, her best friend. She’d heard Van’s voice, saying it was okay to cry, felt Van’s fingers wrap tightly around hers and squeeze.
Sitting straight up in her bed, she turned to the figure that lay beside her. Isaac stirred and reached for her, his hand falling on the empty pillow beside him. Even through the darkness, she could see his eyes flutter open. “Maxie,” he said. “What’s wrong?”
Maxie was high. As high as a kite, as a comet, as high as something even higher than a comet. It was Christmas evening and she plodded down a snow covered sidewalk of New York City, her hands lodged in her pockets, her wool hat pulled low over her face, nearly covering her eyes. The freezing wind blew fiercely, whipping her hair across her cheeks and sending icy chills up her spine that made her whole body shudder. Yet, somehow, it didn’t bother her.
Maxie sat on the couch, staring straight ahead at nothing in particular. She felt outside of herself, as if she were floating above the room, watching the herd of detectives, policemen, paramedics, medical examiners, and even lawyers swarming around her apartment. She just sat on the couch, finally clothed, but still covered in dried blood.
Alex was a good kisser. The best kisser, actually. He didn’t do too much, nor too little. There was always the right amount of moisture. He always knew what to do with his hands. Sometimes he kissed Maxie gently and slowly, running his fingers through her hair, pulling back every few minutes to look at the emotion in her expression, in her eyes. Other times, he was hungry and aggressive. He’d kiss her with longing and fervency, holding her body impossibly close to his, exploring her as if he didn’t have enough hands to touch enough of her at once.
Tonight was one of those nights.
Detective Lake was waiting for Maxie when she arrived at the hospital the next morning. “I’ve been trying to get in touch with you,” she said. “Did Savannah give you my messages?”
Maxie shrugged, avoiding Lake’s eyes as she moved past her and into Isaac’s room. Nothing had changed. He still lay in the same position she’d left him in two days before. On his back, slightly propped up, arms at his sides. She knew personally that he preferred to sleep on his belly. She couldn’t help but wonder if, even comatose, that was still the case. “I haven’t seen Van,” Maxie lied.
Good news reviewers! Solitude of a Birdcage is officially available to request on NetGalley!
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